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JK Rowling, et al.

A place to debate issues or to rant about what's on your mind. In addition to discussions about historical fiction, books, the publishing industry, and history, discussions about current political, social, and religious issues and other topics are allowed, so those who are easily offended by certain topics may want to avoid such threads. Members are expected to keep the discussions friendly and polite and to avoid personal attacks on other members. The moderators reserve the right to shut down a thread without warning if they believe it necessary.
SGM
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Post by SGM » Wed February 22nd, 2012, 2:10 am

[quote=""parthianbow""]I beg to disagree. From what I've learned in the last few years, it's to do with 'the bigger the author, the less an editor is allowed to say' syndrome. I've heard that said about more than one big name.[/quote]

Well, Deathly Hallows was definitely in need of a good editor. It began to resemble one of Ann Radcliffe's -- I would have loved to take a pencil and scrubbed out 2/3rds of those novels.

Did JK make more money because it had to be made into two films rather than one? Or, am I just being cynical?
Last edited by SGM on Wed February 22nd, 2012, 2:19 am, edited 2 times in total.
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LoveHistory
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Post by LoveHistory » Wed February 22nd, 2012, 6:48 pm

A little of both, SGM. To be fair, she did have a lot of ground to cover. But yes, that one could have done with some cuts.

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The Czar
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Post by The Czar » Thu February 23rd, 2012, 1:29 am

[quote=""Divia""]Trust me. As a YA librarian I have a hard time finding male books for my patrons. Boys will read if you give them something that catches their interest. Though they are far more likely to read non fiction because it takes all the drama out and gives them the facts.

I' ve seen more female protagonists than male in my meager years as a YA lib. Also, I'm seeing a growing trend where girls won't read about guys. I dunno if this is just limited to my school or not. But its interesting. Girls want to connect to another girl who is having the same problems she is.[/quote]

I've long thought that the way literature is taught teaches boys especially to hate reading.

I was always a reader. I actually got sent to the principal's office for reading in class dozen's of time. I'd already finished reading whatever crap we were supposed to be reading, but that didn't matter.

But then in high school lit classes, which were universally taught by older women, we were given the most (to a 15 year old boy) BORING bodice ripping Victorian stuff ever. I remember one in particular... Ethan Frome. God I hated that book.

Why is this? Well, part of it is that the tastes of a 60 year old woman and a 15 year old boy are radically different, and she assigns what she likes.

Part of it is that much of the stuff that boys would consider interesting has too much "questionable" material in it. Sex, violence, racist language, whatever.

Sad really. I've since gone back and read some of the stuff I hated back then as an adult, and liked it. But it was just horribly assigned given the age group of the class.

I'll always hate Ethan Fromme though. :mad:
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rebecca
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Post by rebecca » Thu February 23rd, 2012, 1:45 am

[quote=""The Czar""]I've long thought that the way literature is taught teaches boys especially to hate reading.

I was always a reader. I actually got sent to the principal's office for reading in class dozen's of time. I'd already finished reading whatever crap we were supposed to be reading, but that didn't matter.

But then in high school lit classes, which were universally taught by older women, we were given the most (to a 15 year old boy) BORING bodice ripping Victorian stuff ever. I remember one in particular... Ethan Frome. God I hated that book.

Why is this? Well, part of it is that the tastes of a 60 year old woman and a 15 year old boy are radically different, and she assigns what she likes.

Part of it is that much of the stuff that boys would consider interesting has too much "questionable" material in it. Sex, violence, racist language, whatever.

Sad really. I've since gone back and read some of the stuff I hated back then as an adult, and liked it. But it was just horribly assigned given the age group of the class.

I'll always hate Ethan Fromme though. :mad: [/quote]

LOL Czar I also was made to read Ethan Frome. It is a very depressing book and no I can't read it again either. I am also anti Shakespeare and all that hither and wither Arrrrgh :rolleyes: and to this day I wont read Shakespeare. :mad: But I did re-read Jane Austen and came to love most of her books(but I hated them in school)...But the book I positively detest is......wait for it.........

Wuthering Heights :eek: :rolleyes: :D I renamed it Withering Blight :D :D

Bec :)

SGM
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Post by SGM » Thu February 23rd, 2012, 6:12 am

[quote=""rebecca""]LOL Czar I also was made to read Ethan Frome. It is a very depressing book and no I can't read it again either. I am also anti Shakespeare and all that hither and wither Arrrrgh :rolleyes: and to this day I wont read Shakespeare. :mad: But I did re-read Jane Austen and came to love most of her books(but I hated them in school)...But the book I positively detest is......wait for it.........

Wuthering Heights :eek: :rolleyes: :D I renamed it Withering Blight :D :D

Bec :) [/quote]

I can't comment on Ethan Frome because I have never read it but I can't actually remember hating any books I read at school until I got to A' Level (16-18 years) and those books were chosen by the examination board not my teachers. On the list of hates from that period were Scott's Heart of Midlothian which is about some very boring and moral characters. But especially boring to my mind was The Life of Horatio, Lord Nelson by Robert Southey which might, however, have proved more appealing to boys. I hated it. Unfortunately, added to that we had to read what became my least favourite Jane Austen -- Mansfield Park.

I don't remember what I felt about Wuthering Heights when I read it in my teens voluntarily but I know I dislike it now but I've never had an issue with Shakespeare. That may have had something to do with the choice of plays we read and by the time I got to O Level (15-16), I loved Macbeth.

I also did Greek literature until I was 16 and I don't remember hating any of those either but, again, it might have been down to the choices -- The Odyssey, The Orestia, Last Days of Socrates etc.
Last edited by SGM on Thu February 23rd, 2012, 6:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Madeleine
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Post by Madeleine » Thu February 23rd, 2012, 10:09 am

I agree with most of your comments on Shakespeare, I always wanted to do something a bit more meaty OK gory like the Scottish play or Hamlet, but we didn't get to do that til we got to what used to be called the sixth form - probably now Year 20 or something - and we did King Lear. I also hated most of the novels we had to read until we got to the old O Level - now GCSE - stage and did Jane Eyre and Far from the Madding Crowd and to my amazement I enjoyed them - finally I actually got pleasure from something I was forced to read. But when we got to A Level it was Jane Austen - I'm with SGM on this one, we did Emma and Persuasion, although later I did read P & P and Sense... and enjoyed those, but was bored still by Mansfield Park. Although initially we were given Frankenstein to read - brilliant I thought and then they changed the examining board and we got the Jane Austens instead. However considering it was an all girls' school and the previous books we'd studied were very female-orientated, we also studied Lord of the Flies, which was an interesting alternative to say the least.

Not sure if it's a reflection on the claims of dumbing down but I've heard that Jane Eyre is now studied for A Level; interesting considering it was an O Level set book back in my day.
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Post by Justin Swanton » Thu February 23rd, 2012, 5:21 pm

In my case it was, let's see..... My Family and Other Animals, 1984, and Measure for Measure for O'Levels (interesting combination), and Hamlet, Canterbury Tales, and The Bloodknot by Athol Fugard for my 'A's. I enjoyed them all. We had good Eng. Lit. teachers, which was important. I worked through a lot of Hardy and the Brontes in my own time. I must confessed I liked them all. No discriminatory taste whatsoever. :o
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SGM
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Post by SGM » Thu February 23rd, 2012, 8:09 pm

[quote=""Justin Swanton""]In my case it was, let's see..... My Family and Other Animals, 1984, and Measure for Measure for O'Levels (interesting combination), and Hamlet, Canterbury Tales, and The Bloodknot by Athol Fugard for my 'A's. I enjoyed them all. We had good Eng. Lit. teachers, which was important. I worked through a lot of Hardy and the Brontes in my own time. I must confessed I liked them all. No discriminatory taste whatsoever. :o [/quote]

I don't think specific Shakespeare's are considered specifically appropriate for different levels. I know people who did Measure for Measure and Macbeth for A Level whereas for me it was an O Level play. They teach them at different levels according to the exam. I was not fond of Measure for Measure at school.

As far as Jane Eyre for an A Level book, I think it was sometimes set at that level in my day and sometimes O Level. I did CB's Villette for A Level -- about which I will not speak. What I do find surprising is that Mrs Gaskell has hit the A Level curriculum. She wasn't even taught in school during my time there, she was merely mentioned as the lesser sort. But we were encouraged to at least look at her books and Ann Radcliffe's so that we could understand the comparison.

Luckily, for me at O Level, I did Macbeth, She Stoops to Conquer and poetry all of which was easy to enjoy and I have developed a lifelong relationship with Macbeth. Whereas I did King Lear for A Level but it took me years to develop a real appreciation for it and that didn't happen until I saw Anthony Hopkins in the role on stage.
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Post by Kveto from Prague » Thu February 23rd, 2012, 8:33 pm

[quote=""Justin Swanton""]This question interested me from the day I tried to read the first Harry Potter. My theory:

HP piggy-backs on fantasy fiction. However it is different in that, instead of obliging the reader to travel to a fantasy world that is very different from the world he/she is used to, HP leaves contemporary children intact with their contemporary relationships and growing up problems - and adds magic, wizards, gnomes, bad beasties, etc. In other words, it is easier to identify with the world of HP than with Middle Earth, Earthsea, or Camelot. A case of fantasy fast-food.

Do I get a medal?[/quote]


I've also considered something similar. I've only read the first book and don't really intend to read any more, not because i don't like them, they just aren't my thing.

After the first part, getting Harry out of the real world and into the fantasy world I kept getting a sense of Deja vu. I grew up reading Dungeons and dragons books. Endless quest types of choose your own adventure and lots of gamebooks. Fairly obscure books targeted at pre-teen boys only. As I went through the second half of harry potter i realised Id already read all of this stuff in those Dungeons and Dragon books. I mean some of the stuff Rowling wrote are almost direct lifts from dungeons and dragons, like the giant chessboard and so on. Its all from these boys fantasy books.

What Rowling did that was so clever was she took these ideas and put a slight spin on them and marketed them to a completely different audience. An aduience that was too young to have read the D and D books. Or who never would (basically females). And their parents who hadn't read the D and D stuff growing up so it was all new to them.

Ive no knowledge of any further books so it might just be the first one. And Im not trying to bash Rowling, it was a brilliant idea to find a new market for these old ideas. I mean how many ideas are original really? For me, the interesting part was the boarding school aspect because that was new for me. All the magic and fantasy stuff was so familiar so as not to be interesting. Its all from dungeons and dragons.

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Post by rebecca » Fri February 24th, 2012, 2:51 am

I find it interesting to see the different level of books we were all made to read at school and thought I would list mine.

Shakespeare( I can't remember which one. I think I have subconciously blocked it :p )

Little Women-Loved it.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn-Loved it.

Pride and Prejudice-Hated it then. Love it now.

To Kill a Mockingbird-Loved it.

Wuthering Heights-Hate, hate HATE it.

Ethan Frome-A tad depressing.

Tess of the D'Urbervilles-found the book boring but I love the TV Adaptations.

Poor Mans Orange-Ruth Park-I liked it.

Diary of Anne Frank-A moving book.

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell-I didn't like it then but love it now and also the TV adaptation.

I also remember our teacher got into serious trouble when he gave us Lolita to read and my mother refused to let me read it. I still haven't read it.

Sara Dane but for the life of me I can't remember who wrote that one.

Careful He Might Hear You- A brillaint book by Sumner Locke Elliot(SP?) I am now trying to find that book but it seems to have gone out of print.

Gone With the Wind-Loved it and still love it.

That's my list as far as I can remember...My school days were many moons ago and a billion books ago.

Bec :)

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